Expert: Holiday Shoppers Will Be More Selective
Agoura Hills, Calif., Nervous consumers are likely to make changes in where they shop this year, according to retail expert Stevan Buxbaum, VP of investors and consultants Buxbaum Group.
“People will move down a notch in their consumption habits,” Buxbaum said. “If they were department-store shoppers, you might see them a little more inclined to shop at Target. If they shopped at Abercrombie & Fitch last year, they may turn instead to a less-expensive retailer like Aeropostale. They will still be looking for strong fashion items, but they may go a notch down in terms of price.”
The issue of price may be especially important when it comes to European luxury items such as leather goods, he said.
Like last year, electronics will remain hot with holiday gift-givers this year, Buxbaum said. “The lower price point of flat-screen televisions has made them extremely desirable as gifts, and they will remain that way,” he said. “In addition, the price reduction on Apple’s iPhone will make it a strong potential purchase.”
Buxbaum also believes that accessory sales will remain strong this season, especially those for ‘one-size’ items such as handbags. The jewelry category, however, may struggle.
When it comes to apparel, much will depend on the season’s weather. “We stayed warmer than usual last year, and that slowed down sales of outerwear,” Buxbaum said. “That means a lot of that merchandise is back in the stores this year at heavy promotional prices. Those goods could move if the weather turns colder early on, but if it doesn’t, that merchandise is going to sit again.”
Kroger, Union reach agreement, strive averted
CINNCINNATI (AP) Kroger reached a tentative three-year contract late Thursday with a union representing nearly 11,000 workers in the Cincinnati region, according to reports.
Kroger spokeswoman Meghan Glynn confirmed the agreement, although details were not disclosed.
The agreement, announced late Thursday, avoided a last-minute strike at 79 stores in the Cincinnati region. Kroger, the nation’s largest traditional grocer, hasn’t had a strike in its hometown since 1971.
The tentative contract must be approved by the Local 1099 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which last month authorized its leaders to call a strike. They continued working under a contract extension that was scheduled to end at midnight Thursday.
Kroger officials and leaders had made preparations for a strike. Kroger had said it would use managers and temporary workers to keep operating the 79 affected stores in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana.
“This is a very competitive market and it does happen to be our hometown,” Glynn said. “With any contract we negotiate, it has to make sense economically.”
This year, pay raises in the rejected proposal ranged from 10 cents an hour for baggers to 95 cents an hour for department heads. A top-rated clerk’s pay would increase 85 cents an hour from $14.61 an hour. Workers voted overwhelmingly last month to authorize their leadership to call a strike. Kroger, which had $66.1 billion in sales last year, operates 2,491 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local chains, including Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith’s, Fry’s, Dillons, QFC and City Market.
Target offers charitable holiday collection
MINNEAPOLIS Target announced Thursday that it is offering an exclusive holiday product collection that gives shoppers the chance to support the company’s charitable partners.
When customers purchase items from Target’s “Gifts for Greater Good” holiday collection, funds will be directly donated to various causes such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Salvation Army.
“This year we are thrilled to offer an expanded holiday gift collection that benefits several special causes,” said Laysha Ward, vp of community relations for Target. “By purchasing items in this collection, our guests will have the opportunity to directly support nonprofit organizations and the people they serve, which we hope will make their holiday shopping more enjoyable and meaningful.”